Mac Mini: Cable/Connector headaches - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by GizmoHKG, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. GizmoHKG macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2009
    Hi all,

    A newcomer to the forums, I have enjoyed reading many posts over the previous few months.

    I'm a PC (user), but am taking the plunge into the world of Apple for the first time and thinking of getting a new Mini to use as my HTPC. At home I currently have a projector (with HDMI/Component inputs), a 32" LCD TV (HDMI/composite inputs), a DVD player (2 sets of composite input/output + 1 component output).

    Currently I use the DVD player to receive input from my cable TV as well as play DVDs. This is then output to both the projector (via component cables) and TV (via composite cables), and feeds sound to the speaker system.

    I'd like to connect up the Mini... but was wondering how. Sound from the mini will still need to go through the DVD player (I think, for convenience, it manages the sound for all the inputs), but any thoughts on the video?

    How should I play around with the two Mini vid outputs (Mini DVI & Mini DisplayPort)? I think one should feed straight into the projector (HDMI in? Or is the composite from DVD OK? - i think this may lose some quality?), and the other to the TV via the DVD player (not worried about quality loss for the TV).

    Any thoughts on which cables/adapters I could use in both cases? I am struggling to get to grips with what is needed. Any help greatly appreciated!!

  2. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    You can get a mini-displayport to hdmi cable. For audio, you need a 3.5mm headphone to RCA cable which you plug in on the headphone / audio out jack.
  3. GizmoHKG thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2009
    Thanks, zmttoxics.

    I think I'll be doing this:

    Vid from Mini to projector (which is a long way away):
    Mini-DisplayPort - HDMI Adapter
    HDMI Cable (10m, M/M)

    Audio for projector setup
    Need to check back of my DVD player for I/O

    Vid from Mini to TV
    Mini-DVI to Video Adapter (it doesn't mention the Mini, only macbooks etc, but I assume this will work? here)
    Composite cable to DVD player
  4. Durandal549 macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2007
    If I remember right the mini-dvi to video adaptor will not work with the new mac mini.

    You can get a mini dvi-dvi from apple and then a dvi-HDMI cable. That is what I use for my projector.

    I would compare the cost and convenience of that to getting an HDMI switch and a couple of cables from monoprice. HDMI interconnects from monoprice are dirt cheap compared to stores. In that case:

    mini-displayport to HDMI to switch to projector and tv

    My mini is now located right next to my projector because when I set it up HDMI over runs of 25' was not that reliable. Also HDMI that long is still fairly expensive even online. Before I moved things I used VGA for the long run.

    Depending on cost and what you want to spend you may want to think about this setup as well. If your projector has a VGA in, most usually do.

    mini-dvi to VGA to projector
    mini-displayport to HDMI to TV
  5. GizmoHKG thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2009
    Hi Durandal, thanks for the reply.

    Good spot! I should have seen that before I ordered the adapter. Whoops... that's a few $$ down the drain. Nevermind...

    Thanks for letting me know your setup. It would seem then that getting any output from the mini to turn into a composite input for any other device (e.g. my DVD player) is not really an option then?

    You got me thinking about putting the mini near the projector again. Although, the TV and the projector are quite a distance apart, so one of the the HDMI cables is still going to be long I think?

    For the hdmi box, one of the following should do the trick?

    To be honest, if I get the mini-dvi - dvi adapter with the mac mini, I might just go for the following to skip out the box(?):

    To TV
    Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter > HDMI cable (~5m)

    To Projector
    Mini-DVI to DVI adapter > DVI to HDMI cable (~10m)

    Audio into the DVD player for when using projector or TV. A little cumbersome, but I cannot see another option except for an audio splitter; audio does not come out the other two ports?

    That sounds OK I think?
    You mention the 10m (DVI to) HDMI might suffer image quality issues; are they quite bad? I have a VGA input on the projector, yes, but over that length I would think that'd be the same, if not worse, what do you think?

    thanks again!
  6. Durandal549 macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2007
    My first reply got eaten by the board. I went to post and I ended up back at the login page. So I apologize if the second attempt seems rushed.

    You could get a scan converter to go from VGA to composite. However for many technical reasons this usually looks like crap. The biggest reason is that composite is limited to 640x480 and is interlaced. I don't recommend it.

    I think your idea is better! Mirroring both outputs saves the need for a switch. Call it my AV background and instinctively wanting to go to a switching device :) The items you listed are all distribution amplifiers (splitters, not switches). They would work but are more expensive than an HDMI switch that is about $25. But with mirroring you wouldn't need either. I don't see why your setup above would not work.

    For long runs I like VGA. Again call it the AV guy in me that runs 150' VGA cable. This link has some great info on HDMI. Blue Jean Cable is good stuff, I have bought from them before and they do excellent cable. You should be fine for a 10m run. It looks like the watch out number is ~15m.

    For the audio I think that sounds like a good setup. The 3.5 mm jack on the mini doubles as an optical audio out. If your DVD player has an optical in I would go that route. If not a simple 3.5mm to 2rca will work fine.
  7. GizmoHKG thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2009
    Thanks Durandal; sorry your first reply got chewed up!!

    If it makes you feel just a little bit better, I do actually have one new switching device! :)
    It's a switcher for my component cable inputs, which then feeds component cables to the projector.

    cheers for the link to the cable information; very helpful and a few things I didn't know before were answered by that! I actually had a thought about the audio for the TV, which I'll need to check when I get in. If it's HDMI for the image and RCA for the audio, I'm not 100% sure the TV can accept two inputs at the same time. If not, I'll simply use it for DVDs/cable from the DVD player I think (ah well...)

    Now all that is left is to decide how to control the mini... It'll only be for Plex and Itunes (occasional web browsing)... It's a toss up between the Harmony One, dinovo mini, and dinovo edge... They all have their pros and cons, it's frustrating!!

    Thanks again for all your advice, much appreciated! I bet your setup must be pretty swish!

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